Hyderabad: Debate over including the human papilloma virus vaccine in the Universal Immunisation Programme has intensified with a study of 1,500 young women that showed that risk factors are eliminated by vaccination and it will go a long way in reducing the burden of cervical cancer in India.
Some 122 countries are giving the vaccine to young girls from 12 years onwards. It can be taken till 45 years of age.
The study published in the journal Pediatrics is the first sample study in the timeline from 2006 to 2017 of different age groups to substantiate the elimination of risk factors.
Dr Manjula Anagani, senior gynaecologist, said, “post delivery is an ideal time for young women to take the vaccine if they have not taken it in their teens. In the private sector we have been counselling since last decade and now we find that parents are coming with their young girls for vaccination.”
She said that those who had missed the vaccination were being given in the postpartum period which is the best for women. “When a large number of women are vaccinated then herd immunity is created and for this reason it must be a part of the universal immunisation programme,” Dr Anagani said.
The Indian Academy of Paediatrics and Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India are regularly creating awareness about the vaccine and this has encouraged women who are treated privately to opt for immunisation. But the vaccine is costly as 0.5 ml costs `2,190 for one injection and women have to be given three shots.
The high cost has kept the vaccine out of the government programme but experts believe it must be included so that more women are protected.
The National Technical Advisory Group has given the green signal for introduction of the vaccination in the UIP in 2017.
Dr Shanta Kumari, senior gynaecologist, said doctors and the scientific community were convinced about the efficacy of the vaccine so “it is for the government to look at the larger picture and introduce the vaccine.”
The reported clinical trials in Khammam and the improper consent forms created a pressure group that is not keen to have the vaccine introduced in the government programme, said a senior gynaecologist, but the risk versus benefit ratio is now proving that women will benefit from the vaccine. In Australia and the United States, young boys are also given the vaccine so that they are protected from cancer of the larynx.
Dr Geeta Narsagee, surgical oncologist, explained, “The reports of 2018 show that the incidence of cervical cancer in India is 13 per 1 lakh and mortality is 8.2 per 1 lakh. The numbers show that we need to look at the preventive aspects and vaccines have proved that they help in reducing the risk of the disease. This can be the way forward and help to save women from these cancers.”
Cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer in India and accounts for 22.86 per cent of all the cases in women. According to Globacon, 96,922 new cases were registered in India in 2018....